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sugar’s grandma

“Hettie!” I waved until I got in her line of sight. “Your shoes!”

Gripping the soft frame of her white hair, as if to catch her balance, my friend un-Velcroed her sandals and thanked me. “I almost forgot.”

As we crossed the threshold, a woman stood from the cushioned wood daybed. She looked rather more like a small child unfurling herself from the arms of a parent than that of a mother pushing away her oldest daughter.  Continue reading

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berry

Her sign name looks like “Dimple,” and she is better at eating than any Thai person I know. The first night we met, she picked a seat near me on the ground and exuded a faint scent of flowers. It made me self-conscious. I myself smelled of chlorine: my clothes would not dry in the fan-stirred humidity of the house, and the warm, tropical air blew over me, lulling me into sleepy stillness after swimming. But they–all the Deaf I had just met–gathered around. They sat on the floor, signing with Berry. She was popular. Why would she sit by me? Continue reading

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rinetta

The defensiveness rose in my chest as we spoke, and I wished I had not worn my department sweatshirt that day.

“We don’t need anything else,” she was saying. Despite a personality that generally tolerated most peoples’ soap boxes and the Christianity I too professed, the buzzing in my mind–a slow uncomfortable resentment–persisted. Continue reading

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carissa

The girl sitting next to me on the subway had the whimsically short cut I had admired since realizing, at the age of twelve, the unreachability of Disney princess hair, and she seemed past the point of defending it. Her corduroy jacket looked refashioned from an old carpet bag, and when asked, she said that she worked in “textiles.” She looked the sort of artist who would never claim to be one. She looked like my long-lost friend. Continue reading

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evangeline

Bangs frame her freckles–frame pale eyes. A teenage Pinterest queen. Her clouds hold rain worth dancing in, and the future is distant. Everyday, the timeless season before life begins, on which she will look back–when she is thirty–and wonder where “that girl” went. “That girl” who, were she to die today, would be “too young,” untouched by anything, anyone, and full of bright things that do not make it past college. Not usually. But today, looking at her, you wonder if she may be the exception. Continue reading

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